“Fast Jack” Beckman Snatches an Overdue Win at the Grove

The year-long winless drought for “Fast Jack” Beckman finally ended when he drove his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT® Hellcat Funny Car to victory at the 35th annual Mopar® Express Lane Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway. This was Jack’s 29th win of his illustrious racing career and the third time he’s parked his racecar in the winner’s circle at Maple Grove Raceway in Pennsylvania. It’s a great start to the NHRA Countdown and put some distance between Jack and the competition, but it wasn’t without drama that could have gone in a totally opposite direction for the drivers.

Jack Beckman putting on his gear

When it came down to the Funny Car final round, it was a replay of two weeks ago at the NHRA U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park, which pitted Beckman against the 16-time world champ John Force. At Indy, Beckman came up on the losing end to Force, but this time, the outcome would be different. During Sunday’s eliminations at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals, both Beckman and Force were on opposite sides of the ladder and each driver was going rounds in the march to the final pairing. It was Dodge versus Ford, Charger versus Camaro, and whoever has the best tune would take home the coveted Wally from the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals. As both Funny Cars came up the line belching nitro from their headers, the fans stood on their feet. At the first flicker of green from the Christmas Tree, Beckman’s Charger was out on Force’s Camaro as both machines thundered down Maple Grove Raceway. Beckman’s impressive .028 holeshot reaction time to Force’s .068 probably sealed the deal for the Mopar camp, but there was still a lot of pavement to cover before the 1,000-foot finish line. As both cars neared the finish line, the gap tightened up as Force was gobbling up real estate very quickly. When the clutch dust and tire smoke cleared, the fans cheered as the top end score boards showed how close the final was. Beckman’s run of 3.958 seconds at 330.07 mph got the win over Force’s 3.952 at 328.78 mph.

drag strip

“Winning this one is extra special for a few reasons because we did it in the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals,” said Beckman. “It’s our first win in the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat body. We took over the points lead, and it’s been way too long since we’ve been to the winner’s circle. For a shot in the arm, for a psychological boost, for that mental edge, that intangible that I think you need to be able to win a championship, this might be the thing that is the first step for us.”

jack beckman with his funny car and trophy

How Beckman got to the finals showed just how much grit and determination the crews have in getting their drivers to the finals. Beckman had qualified third, which gave him the ever-important lane choice when he went up against his opponent, Jim Campbell. Moving on to the quarter-finals, Beckman took down the former world champ, Robert Hight. With the crew getting even more dialed in, he rolled back into the staging lanes to face off with J.R. Todd. Once again, lane choice and the right tune-up played a role as Beckman’s 11,000-horsepower Charger SRT Hellcat went straight down the strip while Todd’s Goodyear slicks went up in smoke almost at the hit of the throttle. That would set the stage for facing off against Force in the final.

Jack Beckman's Funny Car on the drag strip

With Beckman putting the competition on the trailer this past weekend, this marked the eighth consecutive race that a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car has raced in the finals. What’s even cooler, the Charger SRT Hellcat has been in 15 of the 19 final Funny Car rounds during the 2019 NHRA season. This is due to the hard work of DSR drivers and crews and our SRT engineers that make the Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car body go through air at over 300 mph like a missile.

Matt Hagan's funny car on the drag strip

The other Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car drivers also went some rounds during the Mopar Express Lane Nationals with Ron Capps racing to the semifinals, but it came at the cost of taking out his teammate, Matt Hagan, in the previous round. For Tommy Johnson Jr., he got tripped up in round one and lost a close race to his opponent. Over in Top Fuel, Leah Pritchett, in her Mopar Dragster, went out in the quarterfinals when her 11,000-horsepower machine lost traction 150 feet past the starting line.

dragster on the drag strip

Our Dodge//Mopar DSR team will get next weekend off for a much-needed break, an little R&R, and to service their race equipment before heading off to the second drag race and Countdown event, the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois. The 2019 race season might be winding down, but the competition is just heating up.

Jack beckman engaging with a crowd



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